Most Patriots fans spent the last several months pining for some additional offensive weapons to help out Mac Jones. The Patriots had their pick of any wide receiver in the draft, twice, and Bill Belichick opted to trade down before taking the best defensive player on his board.
And few would argue with the selection.
Christian Gonzalez would have been considered a dream scenario heading into the weekend when the Patriots held the 14th overall pick. Most felt the corner out of Oregon wouldn't be available at 14, so when Belichick swapped spots with Pittsburgh and moved to 17 while picking up a fourth-round pick (120 overall) and he was still available, the value was too high to pass up.
The 6-1, 197-pound Gonzalez gives the secondary some length and athleticism on the outside, something the unit was lacking a year ago with the Jones boys – Jonathan, Marcus and Jack – as well as Jalen Mills. Gonzalez is a physical corner with solid ball skills who has the ability to play press man and in a variety of schemes. He has the potential to match up with some of the talented receivers the Patriots will face in the division like Buffalo's Stephon Diggs, who has tortured the Patriots repeatedly in recent seasons.
It was a bit of a surprising development that Gonzalez was available, and Belichick probably has Detroit to thank. The Lions seemed to be in desperate need of help on defense, particularly at corner, but traded down from No. 6 to 12, then passed on Gonzalez to select Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs. The Lions already have a talented backfield with DeAndre Swift as well as free agent addition David Montgomery, yet still overlooked Gonzalez and went with Gibbs.
That allowed the Patriots the opportunity to grab Gonzalez, and Belichick clearly felt comfortable enough to roll the dice, likely believing one of a group of his coveted players would be there for the taking. Things got a little dicey when Washington was up at 16 and targeted a corner but went with Mississippi State's Emmanuel Forbes, leaving Gonzalez for the Patriots again.
Belichick didn't flinch the second time and the Patriots secondary got a huge boost in the process. With 11 more picks at their disposal, including six from rounds 2-4, the Patriots have the assets to move around on Day 2 to perhaps find the weapons so many are longing for. Until then, the brain trust has to be thrilled with the developments of the first round.
View photos of Patriots first round pick, cornerback Christian Gonzalez in action at Oregon.
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